About CID Frequently Asked Questions

We have answers to frequently asked questions regarding Center for Independence of Individuals with Disabilities (CID) and Independent Living Centers in general.

Who We Are & What We Do

CID is an Independent Living Center, one of 28 throughout the state. We serve people with disabilities within San Mateo County. We are a small, private, nonprofit agency, and receive some of our funding through grants and donations. There are other ILCs covering various areas of the state. We can provide the phone numbers and addresses of the other centers if you ask for them. We are not a residential center. We do not handle emergency situations. We help the individual to find solutions to their own problem, leading to their independence.

ILCs are nonprofit agencies run by and for people with disabilities in order to help individuals be more independent, so they can have more control over their own lives. ILCs work with the community to encourage and educate those with all types of disabilities to advocate for themselves. Instead of doing something for an individual, we encourage them to do it for themselves. For instance, we can provide phone numbers of other agencies, but we do not place the call. It is up to the individuals to make the call for themselves. This not only promotes independence and gives the individual more control over their own life, but the information won't have to be relayed each way through a third party.

In other words, we are not here to solve problems for you, but to give you the tools or information to work with to find the solution yourself. That promotes independence rather than dependence.

Our services include Housing Accessibility Modification (HAM), which involves installing grab bars, rails, ramps, hand-held showers, etc. for low-income San Mateo County residents.

We also provide Peer Counseling (individual and group) by licensed, trained persons with disabilities, and Financial Benefits Counseling (regarding applications or appeals for SSI, SSDI, or MediCal).

The Assistive Technology (AT) Program is designed to educate and train the public concerning technology that can assist people with disabilities. We maintain an information database of community resources and have links to the California statewide AT Network in Sacramento.

Click here for a comprehensive list of CID programs and services. If you are not sure of what service you need, call us at 650-645-1780 and talk with one of our specialists!

Housing Issues

No, CID is not a residential facility. Independent Living Centers provide services either on the premises here (such as counseling or support groups) or at a consumer's home, such as Housing Accessibility Modification, but cannot provide a place to live. We are not able to help you find a place to live, and we do not have the means of keeping track of what is and isn't available. Please contact the Housing Authority of San Mateo County at 650-802-5050.

At this time the Housing Authority of San Mateo County is not accepting Section 8 applications, because the waiting list is so long already. It will be several years before the people currently on the waiting list will be able to receive housing. If you wish to contact the Housing Authority, the number is 650-802-5050. If you have a Section 8 certificate from another county, you need to contact your local housing authority about getting a transfer. You can get a list of Section 8 housing from the Housing Authority IF you go to their office and show them proof that you've received a Section 8 certificate within the last 90 days.

The Housing Authority of San Mateo County maintains a list of apartment complexes that offer HUD housing, if you meet the income requirements. Their number is 650-802-5050. If you are experiencing discrimination, you can contact Fair Housing at 650-468-7464. This is part of Project Sentinel, a fair housing program that provides enforcement, education, counseling and rental dispute mediation services. We recommend that you look in the local newspapers, or the free newspapers regarding housing that are available at most of the local supermarkets. You might also contact realtors, or consider shared housing with someone looking for a roommate.

Please keep in mind that the Bay Area is one of the most expensive areas to live in the entire country, and it's very difficult to find housing here on a fixed income. It may not seem fair, but there just isn't enough low-income housing available for everyone who needs it. Right now there is a 1% to 2% vacancy rate in San Mateo County for any type of housing, including low-income or accessible housing. There are thousands of people in this county who are disabled, and many are on a fixed income and cannot afford to pay the standard rent in this area. It isn't always possible to move out of the area, but there are parts of California that have a much lower cost of living and more available housing, where a fixed income can go much further than anywhere in the Bay Area. There doesn't appear to be an immediate solution to this problem, but the Housing Authority is the best agency to deal with for any housing issues.


We don't provide transportation here, but there is a service called Redi-Wheels (through SamTrans, the local bus system) available for those who qualify. All Sam Trans buses are accessible, and many persons with disabilities are able to use the regular fixed-route bus service. An application can be obtained by calling (800) 660-4287. Another option is West Bay Home Health Services Escort/Transport Service. This is door-to-door transportation to doctor's appointments, shopping, or any other requested destination. The Escort service is suggested for clients who need more personal assistance and attention. The fee is $14 each way plus 30 cents per mile. Please call (650) 991-6680 for an appointment or more information.

If you need volunteers to take you to various errands, F.I.S.H. is an organization that provides transportation in several areas. For Burlingame, Hillsborough and Millbrae and San Mateo, call (650) 570-6002. There's also the Volunteer Center of San Mateo County - they sometimes have volunteer drivers. Their number is (650) 342-0801. In Belmont, San Carlos and Redwood City, call (650) 593-1288.

For emergencies, Medi-Vans offers commercial transportation. They're located in San Francisco, but can travel to San Mateo County. Their number is (415) 468-4300.

The only inter-county transportation available to the best of our knowledge is through Vantastic. You can reach them at (510) 843-7882. Call the above resources for more details, to find out whether they will meet your needs.

To find out about the ADA, there are several toll-free numbers you can call. The U.S. Dept. of Justice Civil Rights Division ADA Information Line is 1-800-514-0301 (voice) or 1-800-514-0383 (TDD). You can also get information from Disability Rights, Education and Defense Fund (DREDF) by calling 1-800-466-4232 (voice or TTY). Or you can call Pacific DBTAC at 1-510-848-2980 (voice) or 1-510-848-1840 (TDD). For work-related ADA issues, call 1-800-ADA-WORK. The Act itself is several hundred pages long, so it is not available to give out. For information on how to purchase parts of the ADA call the number above for the Dept. of Justice Information Line.


CID is not set up to handle emergencies, and we do not have an emergency loan program. In case of emergency where immediate physical help is required, or if you feel your life is threatened or in danger, call 911. There are crisis hotlines at the following numbers: Suicide Prevention -- North County 650-692-6655, South County 650-368-6655. The number for the Crisis Center is 650-692-6655. We do not have social workers or case managers here at our agency. We are not a drop-in agency. It's best to call and schedule an appointment with someone, to make sure they will be available and can set aside time from their other work or appointments. There are social workers available at the TIES line (Teamwork Insuring Elder Support), and they can answer many questions you may have about services available in the community. Their number is 1-800-675-8437.


Depending on the circumstances, we have staff that may be able to advocate on your behalf. We also provide advocacy or referrals to agencies that handle specific types of discrimination. For discrimination in housing questions, contact Operation Sentinel at (408)720-9888. Also, the County Mediation Program Division of Housing can be contacted at 650-802-5034. There's also the Peninsula Conflict Resolution Center, at 650-373-3490.


No, but the appropriate place to call for that would be the State Department of Vocational Rehabilitation. You can reach them at 650-358-4180. You can also call Project H.I.R.E.D. at 650-852-0880, or a County One Stop Employment Center at Peninsula Works: www.peninsulaworks.org.

Someone To Talk To

There's Friendly Visiting Service at 650-342-3882 or 650-326-2025. A service is available from the Family Service Agency called Carrier Alert, which is provided to older adults with disabilities and females who are head of a household. The mail carrier will check to see if mail has been collected recently, and if not, can inform someone that there might be a problem.
For more information, call 650-692-7861.

Legal Issues

We have no lawyers on staff. The number for The Legal Aid Society of San Mateo County is 650-558-0915. They may be able to help, but they might not cover every legal issue someone has a question about. We do have a list of attorneys who work specifically with SSI and SSDI appeals, and we can send that list on request. There is also the Lawyer Referral Service at 650-369-4149.

You might also be able to resolve things without taking legal action. The Peninsula Conflict Resolution Center helps resolve a variety of disputes, including those between neighbors, landlord/tenant, and others. Their number is 650-373-3490.

Calling For Someone Else

Based on the Independent Living philosophy we encourage people to call on their own behalf whenever they can. Someone who is newly disabled may be under a lot of stress, but sometimes they can articulate their own needs better than someone representing them, no matter how well-meaning they might be. Please keep in mind we cannot help someone who does not want our services, any more than you, the concerned family member or friend, can. Even though the person's need may seem very apparent, if they refuse the service, there's nothing we can do about it. That's part of independence and self-determination, the right to make your own choice.

We can provide services and information, but the individual requesting them must be willing to do his or her part. We're here to help the individual find their own solution, instead of solving the problem for them. That's the difference between someone making steps towards independence, or becoming more dependent on other people, and that independence is what this Center, and the Independent Living philosophy, is all about.

Still didn't find the answer to your question?
You can call us directly at 650-645-1780 or send us an email.

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